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“Mormon” “Boys” Battle for Tony Nominations

May 3rd, 2011

Photo by Joan Marcus.

The nominations for the 2011 Tony Awards were announced this morning and, to no one’s surprise, The Book of Mormon led the field with a whopping 14 nominations. However, to everyone’s surprise, Kander & Ebb’s final musical collaboration, Scottsboro Boys, was close behind with 12 nods–a staggering total for a show that has already closed. On the play side, nominations were more evenly spread, though the revival of The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino edged ahead with a total of 7 nominations. A few other snubs and surprises worth noting:

  • My dream list from yesterday proved prophetic, with all three actors getting nominations (O’Malley, Hickey and, praise the theater gods, Tammy Blanchard). Although Brief Encounter did not figure as prominently as I would have hoped, a nomination for lead actress Hannah Yelland is certainly a lovely acknowledgment.
  • Scottsboro seemed to swallow up any long-term memory cells in voters; another critically lauded show that is no longer open Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson failed to make as much of a mark as I thought it might. Lead actor Benjamin Walker’s omission for his sexy, magnetic performance is a shocker. However, having a roster of upcoming movie roles and Meryl Streep as his future mother-in-law might make up for the snub.

  • Mark Rylance. Photo by Simon Annand.

    Prepare yourself for the distinct possibility that I mentioned in an earlier column: the lead actress in a musical and drama winners could very well both be celebrated for singing “Anything Goes” in their shows. Sutton Foster and Nina Arianda (Born Yesterday) lead the pack.

  • Best Actor in a Drama is a battle royale of titanic performances: Rylance, Pacino, Bedford and Cannavale as well as two-time Tony-winner for direction (take that triple threats) Joe Mantello, up for his galvanizing work in The Normal Heart.
  • A bit of a surprise in the Best Musical category: alongside the expected nods for Mormon, Scottsboro, and an equally strong Sister Act, Catch Me If You Can sweet talked its way into the mix, perhaps taking a slot from the popular Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
  • Being a finalist for the Pulitzer doesn’t guarantee a Tony nomination; Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo shockingly did not make the cut for Best Play. Similarly, Robin William’s performance as the titular cat was not recognized leaving him still on the hunt for the last link in his elusive EGOT (Emmy , Grammy, Oscar, Tony).
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